Space photos show UK transforming from green to brown after heat waves

The usual verdant grasses surrounding Buckingham Palace and much of the British Open’s 176-year-old Carnoustie golf course have yellowed since May.

A lack of rain combined with near-record heat through the first half of the summer created this situation, and satellites images from the United Kingdom’s Met Office illustrate the expansive reach of the isles’ browning grasses.

Like the UK, much of the world — even Arctic regions — have been hit with extreme heatwaves or hot spells in the last couple weeks or longer.

Heatwaves, say climate scientists, would certainly happen regardless of whether or not human-caused climate change is a factor. But the planet has been warming at an accelerated pace for 40 years now, making heat extremes more likely.

So far this summer, the UK is on track to challenge 1995 as the driest UK summer in recorded history, Alex Deacon, a Met Office meteorologist, explained online. The same can be said for the UK’s heat since early June.

“It’s been quite remarkable if we take 2018 so far. We could be pushing records” he said.

Though it can be challenging to attribute any particular weather event, like a heatwave, to climate change, with improving measurements scientists have begun to a connect extreme weather events to the changing climate.

 

Pope calls on Ecuador’s youth to be champions for the environment

Pope Francis rides through the crowd in his popemobile as he arrives to celebrate Mass at Bicentennial Park in Quito, Ecuador, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Pope Francis is beginning his second full day of his South American tour. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis rides through the crowd in his popemobile as he arrives to celebrate Mass at Bicentennial Park in Quito, Ecuador, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Pope Francis is beginning his second full day of his South American tour. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Francis challenged Latin America’s youth to take up his environmental protection campaign, saying the defence of God’s creation isn’t just a recommendation but a requirement.

The appeal, delivered at Quito’s Catholic University, is particularly relevant for Ecuador, a Pacific nation that is home to one of the world’s most species-diverse ecosystems in the Galapagos Islands and Amazon rain forest, but is also an OPEC country heavily dependent on oil extraction.

Francis told students and professors that God gave humanity the Earth to not only cultivate, but to care for — a message he framed earlier this month in his headline-grabbing encyclical on the environment.

He said:

“It is no longer a mere recommendation, but rather a requirement because of the harm we have inflicted on it by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed it”

Pope Francis cameras

He challenged universities to ensure that students’ educations aren’t aimed only at profitable careers but at helping the poor and the environment.  He said:

 

“There is a relationship between our life and that of mother Earth, between the way we live and the gift we have received from God”

He also called for long-term changes beyond short-term goals, saying,

“The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits. As stewards of these riches which we have received, we have an obligation toward society as a whole, and toward future generations.”